Wednesday, February 29, 2012

i SPY EUROSPY: Upperseven, the Man to Kill

Upperseven, the Man to Kill
Director: Alberto De Martino
Year 1966
Upperseven, the Man to Kill is a highly enjoyable Eurospy film that features a secret agent with the talent to replicate the appearance of anyone on the planet through the use of his theatrical mask building skills. The movie is fun and wacky, and the premise of being able to pass as another person just by placing a piece of latex over your face, is astoundingly silly but absolutely entertaining in this unusually fun spy caper.
In the film, we follow super agent Paul Finney AKA Upperseven, on his latest mission to take down the diabolical Kobras who is up to some nefarious business. Upperseven, along with his array of masks, sets out to one beautiful location to another, in hopes of finally bringing down this mastermind once and for all. Along the way, Upperseven picks up a beautiful partner named Helen Farheit, who not only looks amazing but can dish out some serious punishment when put to the test. Can the two take down this mastermind or will they end up stiff and lifeless like one of Upperseven’s many hokey masks? Lets get down to the nitty gritty and see what makes this obscure Eurospy tick.

Paul Hubschmid plays the titular character of Upperseven, a man of many faces who’s as deadly as he is clever. Hubschmid does a fantastic job in bringing a serious tone to such an over the top concept as this film presents. He’s a bit cocky like most Eurospy heroes, but beyond that formulaic trait is a more somber and professional agent. He’s an efficient agent who just so happens to dabble in the absurd talents of mask making, for which he uses to great use throughout the film.
What is most interesting about his use of disguising himself with masks is that the opposition isn’t even sure on what he actually looks like. He is a world renowned agent but no one has the slightest idea of what his true identity is on the count of him always changing his persona and physical appearance. The idea is great and the execution is a little silly, but when viewed within the wild world of the Eurospy it makes perfect sense and is actually a whole lot of fun. It’s kind of funny to see Paul Hubschmid slap a lifeless mask on his face and then watch as the camera cuts away to another actor emerging from the makeup chair, looking entirely different but mask-less. Good stuff.
Another amusing aspect of Upperseven’s masks is the fact that the people that he is transforming into are completely and utterly ridiculous looking. One of the most asinine of them all has to be the mustache and goatee sporting ship captain, who Upperseven brilliantly decides to dress as when he is tailing a suspected member of Kobras’ crew. There is nothing that says inconspicuous more then a weird looking dude in a bright white suite and a captain’s hat. Ridiculous! This scene is so strange and outrageous that I couldn’t help but laugh a little over the absurdity of the situation. Oh Upperseven, I can’t stay mad at you.

When Upperseven isn’t crafting his ridiculous masks, he’s whining and dining some rather fabulous ladies. There’s an all too short cameo by the exotic Rosalba Neri as a villainous woman who tries to set up Upperseven, but is then violently slapped around for her troubles and then thrown out into the street to be used as human target practice. Hey, that’s no way to treat a national treasure! Still she looks ravishing during her short appearance and even gets a chance to sing Upperseven a little love song. How sweet.
Likewise, Vivi Bach plays Kobras’ main squeeze and in a strange moment of weakness, Upperseven decides to disguise himself as Kobras in order to get a little late night loving when infiltrating the mastermind’s underground lair. It seems silly for Upperseven to do this, when throughout the movie he was always diligent about completing his mission, but it was a fun little diversion and rather unexpectedly randy of him. Upperseven, you naughty little monkey you.
Finally we get to the cream of Upperseven’s female crop. Karin Dor plays the role of Helen Farheit, a fellow agent and partner to Upperseven. She has been in a number of films that I’ve seen, but for some reason I don’t remember any of her performances in them. In Upperseven, she does a tremendous job as the competent and capable agent Farheit who has an air of innocence to her yet able to hang with Upperseven through the worst of times. I absolutely loved her role in this film and I’m going to make it my personal duty to revisit those other movies to see if I just wasn’t ready at the time for an actress like her. Either way she is stellar in Upperseven and she looks absolutely stunning.

Upperseven, the Man to Kill is a pretty entertaining Eurospy that gives a little twist to the genre. There is plenty of globe trotting and memorable action scenes to fill up the screen time and the inclusion of Upperseven’s mask making abilities tips the scale in creativeness within these types of films. I enjoyed the wackiness of it all and really appreciated the trio of fabulously looking women that absolutely shine while on the screen. Karin Dor especially makes good use of her role, making me contemplate what other special roles I’ll come to find once I start digging through her filmography.
From start to finish, the film just entertains, giving us just one more reason to dig this crazy film category called Eurospy. I had a blast and I implore you to track down this rare spy flick as soon as possible. They really don’t make them like this anymore, so if you get the chance, watch it. This oddity doesn’t disappoint. Upperseven, the Man to Kill is without a doubt a…..

I'm Upperseven and apparently I'm the man to kill.

How about you put that guitar away and we get down to the sex?

Upperseven... another F on your report card? We've talked about this.

Take off that grumpy mask Upperseven. You've got a hot chick in your lap!

They're so..... so.... lifelike!

Someone help! I'm being followed by a weird CAPTAIN!

The Captain says, need a light?

Damn you Scuba Steve!

You going eat your lima beans or am I going to have to get rough?

You don't look so cool now shithead.

Well hello there beautiful!

I'll teach you to dress me in this space-age shit!

All's well that ends well.

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